Kip Moore seems to to be a bit of a free spirit. Raised in South Georgia, he attended college on a golf scholarship before moving to a self-described “hut” in Hawaii after graduation. And while packing not much more than a surfboard and a guitar, he wrote songs constantly and chose to follow his musical passion to Nashville.
Kip is now set to release his debut album, Up All Night, on April 24. Up All Night, produced by Brett James, is an 11-song collection that brings earthy and expansive musical landscapes together with Kip’s rugged troubadour rasp to create stories oftentimes centered on coming of age.
The tumbleweed distortion and thick low-end of album opener “Drive Me Crazy” go a long way in introducing Kip’s overall sound. While his road-worn voice hints at a more commercial country version of Ryan Bingham, Kip touches on themes of innocence lost over a sexy radio-ready chorus. Like much of the material on Up All Night, Kip maintains an accessible hook while in no way coming off as over-produced.
Kip co-wrote every song on the album and tracks like the wistful “Everything But You” pull directly from his own life experience. Lonely even amidst tropical paradise, Kip sings, I order up a round and pretend that you’re right here, while big guitar chords hint at classic Mellencamp. On the bluesy mid-tempo “Reckless (Growing Up),” Kip freely admits blowing money on women and beer, getting into fights and heading anywhere the wind blows all while working through youthful transgressions. Yet, with an easygoing disposition and lyrics sung with a smile, it’s hard not to root for the guy.
The sound of swampy southern blues shines through on many of the album’s best songs. Current Top 15 single “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” features dirty slide guitar and a hardcore blues progression to punch home the beer-soaked groove. Kip cleverly builds a tale of girls, sundresses and trucks before tying it all together in a cathartic chorus that releases the song’s tension. “Fly Again” is an atmospheric trip through the delta with a shotgun to take a couple potshots at the moon and a drifting chorus that deals with loss. I’m gonna say goodbye to you tonight / So long old friend, Kip sings while harmonic guitar notes ring.
Kip offers quite a bit of time to reflect on loss. “Where You Are Tonight” features start/stop rhythms and layered guitar textures while he goes through unique rhyming patterns like, Then I get that feeling, trying to stop my hands from shaking/ Staring at the ceiling and kneeling and making deals with the man above. On “Crazy One More Time,” which is reminiscent of Nebraska-era Springsteen with its pulsing bass and stark feel, Kip sounds like he’s barely hanging on as he faces the end of the line, singing, I’ll wipe a tear from my eye, but you’ll never know / ‘Cause baby I’ll smile as I wave goodbye to you.
Up All Night carries a unique sound that fits somewhere between ramblin’ man storytelling, hook-driven contemporary country and atmospheric blue-collar rock. Even when closing the record with “Faith When I Fall,” a gospel-tinged prayer featuring the great line, Give me strength when I’m standing and faith when I fall, Kip’s rough sound delivers added emphasis and finds its niche between those styles. With a captivating voice and loose arrangements, Up All Night beautifully transforms a free spirit into a compelling journey.
Key Tracks – “Where You Are Tonight,” “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck,” “Crazy One More Time,” “Fly Again”